He was the tallest head in the waiting area on that hot, dreary day. So that anyone looking could tell even from a distance that there was something not quite right about him. It was apparent in the way he sat, the way he held onto the hand of the woman next to him, and bent down to clutch her at whiles. Occasionally he laughed loudly like a happy child at whatever sweet thing she murmured to him.
They seemed in a world of their own, the two of them. The gentle young woman talked to the child-man with an affectionateness that broke your heart. Half the sleepy, tired waiting room watched them. Her gentleness evoked and impression of motherliness, dispelled only because they were so obviously the same age.
Outside the station there was the sound of a seller, of the kind selling small children’s toys and sweets. The man heard the ringing of his bell as he came closer, and shrieked, beginning at once to pull at the woman; begging to be allowed to go outside. His pleading was loud in the quiet waiting room. Even those who had been dozing woke up to stare and pity.
The woman took no notice of them. She patted the man on the head, her height so much smaller compared to his that she had to reach up to get there. She gave him some money, and admonishing him to stay close and not stray, let him go.
The man joyfully bounded out, the ground shuddering under the thuds of his large feet. His giggles could be heard through the door, as he talked and laughed with the candy-seller.
One of the nosier housewives sitting next to the woman, fanning herself, gave a long fake sigh and tutted as she remarked loudly. “Poor poor fellow. Your brother?”
“No.” Said the woman, her face betraying for a moment a wealth of sadness and heaviness, shocking in contrast to the playfulness it held before. Before it turned cold, and she turned her face away from the woman to answer harshly. “No, he’s not my brother…he’s my husband.”